Sunday 24 September 2017

Earnings at country's largest pub group, Louis Fitzgerald, hit €11m

Kehoes pub in Dublin, which is part of the Louis Fitzgerald group
Kehoes pub in Dublin, which is part of the Louis Fitzgerald group

Gordon Deegan and Ellie Donnelly

Earnings at the Louis Fitzgerald pub group that counts the Quays Bar in Temple Bar, the Big Tree and Kehoes among its pubs recorded earnings of €11.2m 2015.

That arises from accounts for two Fitzgerald entities, Ocsas and Burtse, recording combined revenues of €58.35m in the 12 months to the end of June last.

Burtse enjoyed earnings before tax, depreciation, amortization of €5m and the previously filed accounts for Ocsas show that it recorded earnings of €6.2m in 2015.

Ocsas filed its accounts last year and the Burtse accounts have only recently become available completing the financial picture of what is the country's largest pub group.

The Fitzgerald pub business restructured in the year under review. A number of the pubs in the Fitzgerald group, including the Quays bar in Temple Bar, the Big Tree, Kehoes and the Louis Fitzgerald hotel, transferred to Burtse in November 2014. The overall net book value of the assets disposed to Burtse totalled €147m. The restructuring of the Fitzgerald group that involved the establishment of the Burtse Ltd holding firm involved two intermediate holding companies being introduced for commercial reasons.

According to the directors' report, despite difficult trading conditions and the pressures on the licensed trade, Burtse achieved an operating profit of €2.1m.

The accounts show that the firm recorded a pre-tax loss of €6.9m. This arose from impairment of fixed assets of €9.2m and interest costs of €2.28m.

The loss also took account of a write-off of negative goodwill of €2.44m and non-cash depreciation costs of €2.76m.

At the end of June 2015, shareholder funds totalled €13.8m. Tangible assets had a book value of €119m. The firm's cash pile totalled €4.9m.

Numbers employed by Burtse totalled 321 with 206 in bar staff, 95 in operations, 18 in management and two in administration. Directors' remuneration totalled €342,369.

Staff costs totalled €7.2m. Burtse counts 15 companies that it controls 10 licensed firms and two hotel firms along with two property-holding firms.

Meanwhile, The Howl at The Moon nightclub is to be demolished and the site transformed into a 53-room hotel. The venue, which used to be part of the Capital Bars group, was sold alongside the George, Cafe en Seine, and the Dragon in 2014 to Danu Investment Partners.

In 2016, the venues became part of the Mercantile Group following a merger between the two, however Howl at The Moon was again sold in 2016 to Oakmount.

Oakmount already owns the Dean hotel in Dublin 2 and has plans to open the Devlin hotel in Ranelagh in 2018. The Devlin is expected to compromise 40 bedrooms, two restaurants, a rooftop bar, and a boutique cinema when it opens.

Oakmount's portfolio also includes property on Aungier street Dublin 2, Thomas Street in Dublin 8, and a site at Booterstown in Dublin 4.

Irish Independent

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